Holocaust und Erinnerung in Zoltán Fábris Film Nachsaison
Keywords:respect, reckoning with the past, Holocaust representation in movies, politics of memory, Zoltán Fábri
Utószezon (Late Season) is a 1967 Hungarian film by Zoltán Fábri, based on the novel Esti Gyors (Evening Express) by György Rónay.
In a provincial Hungarian town around the time of the Eichmann trial, a group of old men, who represent the social elite from before 1945, is killing time. The group decides to play a practical joke on their friend Kálmán Kerekes and to scare him with a fictitious police summons. However, Kerekes does not react as expected. He does not drive to the police precinct but to another town, where he visits the local pharmacy where he worked as an assistant during the Second World War. This is because the summons reminded him of his words – “Unless the Szilágyis ...” – which in 1944 led to the arrest and murder of his former employer, who had been hiding under an assumed name. When discovered by his friends, Kerekes demands a judgment of his past behaviour. The result is an improvised midnight trial. One part of the group find him not guilty on all counts while another – a survivor – opines that the death penalty is called for. Kerekes genuinely wants to give himself up to the police, yet they have no understanding for his motivation. His attempt to account for his past fails, ultimately no one lives up to this moral reckoning, and there is no solution …
Utószezon today numbers among the forgotten or hardly acknowledged works on the Holocaust, yet it reveals interesting aspects of the politics of memory in the Kádár era. At the same time, the film illustrates Zoltán Fábris’s approach – still a strange approach by present standards of Holocaust memory – which places the question of guilt and co-responsibility in a larger context. To Fábris, the contemporary societal relevance of his themes and their meaning for the present were more important than empty memorial rituals.
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